3 technologies law enforcement will need this year

By Tom O’Keefe, consultantTom O'Keefe

Law enforcement agencies are facing a myriad of challenges today, and they’ll be looking toward new technologies like artificial intelligence to help meet mission needs.

That was the message from government panelists at this week’s AFCEA Bethesda’s Law Enforcement & Public Safety Technology Forum. While the challenges raised by government are nothing new, interest in new solutions to these problems was expressed by leaders from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

Each of these solutions has one common theme: ways in which law enforcement agencies can better manage, integrate and understand the massive amounts of data they collect in their day-to-day operations.

Here are some of the technologies discussed by the government panel:

  • Risk-based analysis: Particularly for law enforcement agencies, this means analysis around passengers and cargo entering the country and improved use of biometrics. Considering the limited amount of law enforcement personnel who are able to be present at any given port of entry, attendees wondered if they could use different types of biometric data, as opposed to just finger print data, to validate identity. This would also help to understand that a traveler entering the country isn’t a threat and reduce the time to allow them to pass through customs. When it comes to receiving cargo, how can data about shipping manifests, points of origin and other pieces of cargo data be compiled to identify patterns of risk? This rule-based data analysis was something of interest by all government panelists.
  • Social media analytics: Panelists involved in public safety expressed a desire for better ways to analyze social media to identify relevant threats and decrease the man-hours spent manually reviewing potentially threatening posts. A particular example that was given involved improved image recognition capability that could distinguish between a gun and a squirt gun being posted to a social media site. This kind of analysis would mean that agency employees could spend more of their time focused on protecting against real threats instead of reviewing false positives.
  • Artificial intelligence: The goal with artificial intelligence, according to the government panelists, was to speed the time it takes to get actionable intelligence into the hands of the agents or officers in the field who need it. This is the technology that panelists felt would be the most transformative over the next few years, as the explosion of data and proliferation of data sources would make executing their missions that much more challenging. Artificial intelligence is still in its nascent stages, but agencies hope to be able to use AI to identify anomalous patterns of behaviors that can then be sent for review by humans, again weeding out false positives.

Data management is a particular challenge for law enforcement agencies, and technology companies that can help with the sheer influx of data would do well to make sure they’re conducting outreach to federal law enforcement agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Need guidance on selling your data management solutions to government? Reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team

About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 7 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

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